tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 11, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
wilkesborough, except for his service in the military. >> happy birthday. on our on our broadcast here tonight, the confession after not telling the truth for years, now we know it's true. mark mcgwire, the home run king did it on steroids. in the hot seat, what the senate majority leader said about barack obama, and what the president is doing about it. the fleecing of america, our popular series is back on the air by popular demand. toght those who steal money from all of us. and making a difference, for thousands of people who just need clothes, why hasn't this idea been around longer? richard nixon on modern art and his hatred of a new york landmark. "nightly news" begins now.
captions paid for by nbc-universal television because this is a family broadcast, we probably can't say what we'd like to about mark mcgwire, the home run hit ter. he stopped lying today and mitted he did it on steroids. for those of us who were raising young baseball fans who looked up to mk mcgwire, that summer of '98 was magical stuff as he and sammy sosa vied back and forth to be the home run king. he's been unable to get into the hall of fame, and apparently even for him, the shame here was too much. we start off tonight with ann ompson. >> reporter: looking back, the admission seems inevitable.
mark mcgwire with his larger than life arms in the '90s. >> it's a season that i will never, ever forget. >> reporter: sending baseball soaring for the oakland days of the st. louis cardins. many home runs we now know were powered by steroids. today in a statement to the associated press, mcgwire said, i used steroids during my playing career, and i apologize. now a hitting coach with the cardinals, mcgwire wants to start this phase of his career with a clean slate. >> i think he knew this was something he was going to be asked about every day, in the day spring training started until the end of the season in october. i think this is his attempt to get out maahead of those questis and put this story behind him. >> reporter: he hoped steroids would help him heal faster. today he said, i wish i had never touched steroids, it was foolish, and it was a mistake. i truly apologize. looking back, i wish i had never
played during the steroid era. and, yes, he says he used steroidsuring that magical summer of 1998. mcgwire hitting for st. louis, and the chicago cubs sammy sosa riveted the nation. the twin towers they were called, smacking homer after homer as they chased roger maris' single season record of 60 home runs. >> that chase is what brought the game back to the forefront of popularity in american sports. >> reporter: in the midst of the race, the first sign of trouble. a steroid precursor was found in mcgwire locker, it was not enough to tarnish his accomplishment of hitting 70 home runs. mcgwire would do that himself when he refused to answer questions before congress about his steroid use. >> i'm not here to talk about the past. i'm here to talk about the positive and not the negative. >> reporter: today mcgwire con fronted that past in an effort to help secure his future.
will the acknowledgement help mcgwire's hall of fame aspiratio aspirations? he's fallen woefully short in his first three ballots. bud selig praised mcgwire's apology and said it would make his reentry into the game easier. >> kind of an american tragedy the way it's ended so far. ann thompson, thanks. now to a couple things in politics that we're just now learning, there's devastating material on a new book out, some of it about what senate majority leader harry reid had to say about the candidate he was supporting after all, barack obama. now, reid is in some hot water, and there's more. andrea mitchell in our washington newsroom tonight. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. as a result of harry reid's newly reported campaign comments about barack obama, tonight americans from the president on down are once again having a conversation about race.
the third rail of american politics. also learning new campaign details and gossip about hillary and bill clinton and john and elizabet edwards. majority leader harry reid already in re-election trouble back home had to face the music today in nevada for his racial comments about then candidate barack obama. >> i've apologized to the president, i've apologized to everyone within the sound of my voice, i could have used a better choice of words. i'll continue to do my work for the african-american community. >> reporter: as reported in "game change" reid an early obama supporter praised obama's chances because he's light skinned with no negro dialect unless he wanted to have one. late today the president resp d responded to roland mtin on tv one in a prime time special to air on martin luther king day. >> this is a good man who's always been on the right side of
history. for him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that makes no sense. >> reporter: republicans are calling for reid's head, michael steele on "meet the press". >> there has to be a consequence here if the standard is the one set in 2002 with trent lott. >> reporter: trent lott was forced to step down as majority leader. many analysts say there's a big difference. reid was praising obama, not longing for a pre-civil rights america. while what reid said was politically incorrect he wasn't inaccurate. >> going back to the 19th century, black politicians with lighter skin have been more successful. it may not be a pleasant fact, it may be unfortunate that that's been the case historically, it may still be the case. >> reporter: "game change" is stirring strong reactions because of its deeply
unflattering portrait of john and elizabeth edwards. the authors describe a screaming fight at an airport terminal between the couple over his infidelity, when she tore off her blouse exposing herself, look at me and then staggered nearly falling to the ground. and the authors write that hillary clinton first turned down obama's offer to be secretary of state because of bill clinton telling obama, you know i can't control him, at some point he'll be a problem. the president-elect told her he was prepared ttake that risk. just as president-elect obama needed hillary clinton, president barack obama needs harry reid. so barack obama will be campaigning in nevada next month, trying to save a senate seat even before he stirred a new debate over race. >> andrea mitchell, thanks. >>this next item was as big an
economic bellwether as any we saw today. walmart is closing ten of its sam's club stores. 1,500 jobs will be eliminated in the process. with about 600 stores in the chain, sam's club is the number two warehouse store outfit in the country behind costco. the federal officials who track the temperature now tell us this past december was three degrees colder than the 20th century average. it was the 14th coldest december apparently since records were kept. while it's a dangerous winter up north, if you live in a place like florida, this winter is a shock. parts of the south aren't built for this kind of cold. our report on all of it from ron mott in atlanta. >> that's ice there. >> reporter: this big chill is doing the most damage in florida. threatening to leave citrus growers with slim pickings. >> with the durations of temperatures we've had, the free
fruit's pretty much gone at this point. >> reporter: and tropical fish farmers are suffering setbacks. >> we're looking at a 70% loss of our entire stock. >> reporter: record low for january 11th, 14 degrees in tallahassee, to a nippy 36 in miami. just 42 in key west. power outages, sinkholes and frozen pipes only add to the misery. further north in georgia today, salt trucks finally got to the hundreds of suburban atlanta families iced in or out of their neighborhoods for days. atlanta hasn't felt a cold snap like this in nearly three decades. it's turned this icy monument into quite a head turner for people passing by. the ice has had dire consequences, two teens drowned in a thinly frozen lake, part of a busy weekend for emergency responders. >> there's been about a 20% increase according to our call volume. most of that is because of the ice and snow.
>> reporter: the deep south, learning firsthand the harsh realities of a deep freeze. ron mott, nbc news, atlanta. news of an awful day in afghanistan, the deadliest in several months there. three more american troops killed today in a firefight in the southern part of the country. 11 days into the new month of january, 10 americans have lost their lives in afghanistan. now we go to san francisco and the opening day of a trial in the first ever federal case challenging laws against gay marriage. it's getting attention not only for what's at stake, but also for who's making the case for same sex couples and where this legal showdown could be headed. our report from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: kristen perry and sandra steer have been together ten-years, raising four boys in berkeley, california. they want to get married to demonstrate their commitment and for the sake of their family. >> i certainly think that children benefit from their parents being married.
children understand when you're treated differently. and it makes them anxious. >> reporter: their hopes of a legally recognized marriage were dashed last fall when california voters approved proposition 8. >> yes on proposition 8. >> no on 8. >> reporter: it amended the state constitution to say marriage is recognized only between a man and a woman. now they've joined another gay couple in the first lawsuit ever, claiming that denying marriage to same sex couples violates the u.s. constitution. their lawyers are two high octane attorneys from opposite sides of the battle over the 2000 presidential election, conservative tedlson and liberal david boies now on the same team. it's a matter of fairness. >> people on death row can get married. people that have no interest in raising children can get married in california. people who are child abusers can get married. >> reporter: surprisingly, california's governor and attorney general have declined to defend proposition 8 leaving
to the groups who fought to get it on the ballot. it's too risky to change centuries of tradition. >> this is altering the definition of marriage and saying, that it's not for protecting of children, it's about the desires and needs of adults. >> reporter: after conducting this test with courtroom cameras, the judge ruled the trial could be shown on youtube, another first for the federal courts. that plan is on hold while the u.s. supreme court considers the youtube issue. this entire legal battle over gay marriage will soon end up here. pete williams, nbc news at the supreme court. when our broadcast continues here on a monday night. back by popular viewer and taxpayer demand, the return of our long running series, "the fleecing of america". and later, the clothes nobody bought going t those who really, truly need them are making a difference. to those who truly need them.
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as we mentioned before the break, tonight we are bringing back our series of reports we call "the fleecing of america" how your money too often goes to waste. tonight an all too familiar subject medicare fraud. something that costs all of us billions of dollars a year. it's back in a big way. our report tonight from nbc's mark potter. >> when you opened that bill and you saw that? >> i was shocked. >> reporter: at the palace suites retirement community near miami, martin and gerry were stunned to learn someone used their names to bill medicare for nearly $20,000 for treatments they never got. >> i think it's outrageous to begin with. >> i think it's bad supervision on the part of medicare. >> reporter: in miami, fbi agent brian waterman and health and human services agent julie rivera have spent years chasing medicare fraud.
>> file cabinet, printer. >> reporter: and say the problem has skyrocketed. >> it's huge, it's like an epidemic. >> we could arrest hundreds of people every month. but there's a line of people to take their place. >> reporter: medicare theft costs u.s. taxpayers $60 billion a year, a nonstop pilferage covered here 12 years ago. >> tonight "the fleecing of america" and once again it involves medicare fraud. >> reporter: a veteran prosecutor tells nbc news that 12 years ago a person stealing a million dollars from medicare was a big deal. now, individual thefts of 30, 40, 50 million dollars and more are not that uncommon. fraud experts say medicare's automated computer system fo paying claims is easily exploited by criminals. >> any time government dispenses funds through computers with no
face-to-face interaction, you can be sure the criminal groups are watching for these opportunities. >> reporter: the obama administration says it's a major concern. and now has medicare fraud prosecution strike forces in seven cities. >> we're trying to really improve the systems, upgrade the data system. sharing realtime data with law enforcement which has never happened before. >> reporter: some call the current system pay and chase, after medicare pays fraudulent claims, law enforcement has to give chase to try to get back at least some of that money. still, a "fleecing of america." mark potter, nbc news, miami. >> there's more on this story and others on our website nightly.msnbc.com. wait until you see tomorrow night's story, what many consider an out and out taxpayer outrage. the multimillion dollar airport with no flights and no passengers. our tuesday night "fleecing of
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richard nixon has done it again. he's not around any more, his words and thoughts live on. there was another document released today from the nixon presidential library in california, including this one that turned out to be ominous. it's a memo about a new white house lawyer they were considering, in it, chapin warns, i have a real hangup with the degree of commitment he would have to the president, something i feel the person who is counsel to the president should have. maybe it is his arrogance, i'm not sure. that lawyer turned out to be hired as white house counsel. he was john dean, who, of course, helped bring down the entire house of cards. here's another, chuck colson is asked about appointed a woman to a senior job at the labor department. he writes back by hand, no, no, she couldn'tossibly handle the hard hats. get a good tough political man, please, please. and finally, richard nixon on the arts. he writes to h.r. haldeman back
in 1970, those who are on the modern art and music kick are 95% against us anyway. i refer to the recent attics of leonard bernstein and the whole new york crowd. when i compare the lincoln center with the academy of music in philadelphia i realize how decadent art and architecture have become. just some of the thousands of nixon documents released today. speaking of modern art figures, we wanted to note the death of art clokey, he created gumby. if you were a kid in this country in the '60s, you were lucky enough to have one. and you saw eddie murphy give it new life on "snl." he modelled gumby's shape over his dad's own outline. he considered the priesthood at one time.
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finally here tonight, a story about us and what we wear compared to most of the world, americans are clothes horses. we wear good quality clothing, lots of it, and a lot of folks have everything theyeed and then some. there's a lot they don't wear, won't wear and some of it gets thrown out. until this idea came along. it's a about people who need clothing, and it's a movement that's growing and making a difference. the story from rehema ellis. >> reporter: from suits and dresses to blouses, en sleep wear. almost every type of clothing is here at this warehouse in brooklyn, home to the nonprofit new york city clothing bank. a collection of brand new items, some still in the wrapping. donated by manufacturers to help people in need. >> it was a resource too good not to tap into it. >> reporter: suzanne davis came
up with the idea 24 years ago, when she was executive director of the jm kaplan fun she asked a friend, the president of a men's clothing line if his company had any excess merandise to donate to the homeless. >> the week after, van heusen sent a thousand men's wind breaker jackets. >> reporter: the idea blossomed. today 300 manufacturers contribute annually, helping 80,000 new yorkers through shelters, hospitals and schools. volunteers spend hours removing labels, the point is to assure manufacturers that the items they donate won't be sold or returned for cash. nationwide, tons of unsold clothes are routinely destroyed. a recent trashing of clothes from a new york h & m chain officials say was damaged and unwearable refocused the spotlight on the need for clothing in a city where many can't afford to go shopping. >> we're off about 40% in the
donations we used to receive. when it comes to individual items, we're off 70% in men's clothing alone. >> reporter: for those down on their luck, the clothing bank answers a basic need. >> it builds your self-esteem, because a lot of the clothes that come here are very good quality clothing. >> reporter: retired now, davis is still reaching out to manufacturers. >> we hope they'll ctinue to step forward, because the need today is even greater. >> reporter: one woman's vision that's distributed $80 million worth of new clothes to people who need them the most. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. that's our broadcast for this monday night as we start a new week. thank you for being with us, i'm brian williams, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com